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Phase II Checklist


  • Are observations defined for all targets and for all grating settings (if more than one requested)?

Phase I Checklist

Instrument configuration:

  • Is the appropriate order sorting filter for each desired spectral interval specified in the proposal instrument resource list? 
  • Does your choice of slit give appropriate spectral resolution and sensitivity?

Telescope peripheral wavefront sensors:

  • Have you specified one guide star of adequate brightness for the peripheral wavefront sensor?

Phoenix OT Details

After the queue for a given semester is consolidated, the PIs of approved proposals will be sent a "Phase II skeleton", which is imported in to the Observing Tool (OT) so that individual observations can be defined, by selecting each one at a time.

Phoenix OT layout

Transmission Spectrum

A 0.9-5.6µm model transmission spectrum of the atmosphere over Cerro Pachon is available (as a 4.9MB text file) here. The spectrum is for an airmass of 1.5 and for 7.6 mm of water (thus somewhat non-optimal conditions at wavelengths where H2O is important). The resolution is 0.00004µm, roughly comparable to the resolution of Phoenix (somewhat lower near 1µm and somewhat higher near 5µm. The wavelength scale is in vacuo.


All Observers

The overhead for slew and set-up is usually 20 minutes. Acquisition of the target consists of images, offsets and instrument configuration changes, all of which are done manually by the observer on the dedicated Phoenix computer.

The following overheads must also be included in the time requested for each scientific observation.

Phoenix ITC

NOAO's exposure time calculator for Phoenix can be used to roughly estimate the Phoenix sensitivity, but it is particularly inaccurate in the 3-5 micron region. For actual measurements see the Sensitivity Table or the Sensitivity Plots.

Sensitivity Table

Slit width

Observing Strategies

Nod size: Like all infrared spectrographs, observations are taken in pairs (ab) or quads (abba) in order to remove sky emission. For small sources (angular dimensions are much less than the slit length of 14 arcsec), the telescope is nodded back and forth along the slit. For large sources the telescope is nodded between the source and blank sky. For pointlike sources nods are thus very small.

Exposure Times

Due to its very high spectral resolution exposure times with Phoenix can be very long. In the JHK windows spectroscopic exposure times of 10,000 seconds on a tenth magnitude star would be needed to saturate the array. Since we are currently unable to abort an exposure in progress, we typically limit the exposure time to 900s.

In the thermal infrared (LL'M) saturation times on the sky and telescope background are 300 seconds near 3µm and 30 seconds near 5µm and limit the individual exposure times.


Slit name Slit width
Slit length